Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Watch: GAA can host Liam Miller charity match and abide by their Father Ted-like rules, explains Joe Brolly

Tomás Ó Sé and Joe Brolly have called on the GAA to allow a charity event for the family of the late Ireland soccer international Liam Miller to take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The association has been slated for failing to grant a request for the special fundraiser at the new €70m stadium.

Roy Keane will lead a team of Manchester United old boys into battle with Martin O’Neill’s combined Celtic and Republic of Ireland side in a game scheduled to take place at Turner’s Cross, the home of Cork City, on Tuesday, September 25.

Ryan Giggs, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand are among a host of former stars confirmed for the match, which will raise funds to help Miller’s widow Clare and their three children, as well as Marymount Hospice, where he died.

The former Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland midfielder lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in February at the age of 36.

The match sold out in less than two minutes and, with Cork City's home having a capacity of just 7,500, the organisers sought to stage it at Páirc Uí Chaoimh which has a 45,000 seat capacity.

The GAA has confirmed that its president, John Horan, and director-general Tom Ryan are expected to meet with the match organisers within the next 24 hours.

Efforts to stage the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh had fallen foul of a GAA rule which prohibits it from hosting games other than those under the control of the Association in its stadia and grounds. The GAA said it had no discretion to circumvent this rule.

Brolly, who works as a barrister and has a lot of experience acting in front of the GAA's Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), believes the GAA can host the game and act within their own rules.

"The GAA rules remind of Father Ted's great line about Catholicism, it's terribly vague and nobody really knows what it means," he told The Sunday Game.

"We clearly have the discretion to allow this to be used. Rule 5.1 allows are property to be used so long as it doesn't conflict with the objectives or aims of the association and all we have to do is characterise this for what it is, a charity event.

"Once you class it as a charity event, we also have an agreement with central government about the funds, the €30m, that was given for Páirc Uí Chaoimh and that includes use for charitable purposes.

"I think apart from anything else, the GAA must be seen as a friend. We are leaders in our community and that is how we position ourselves. I am very optimistic that John Horan, who I believe to be a man of very good intent. I think he has gotten to this a bit late but I think it will be sorted out because the GAA family in Cork deeply want this. Everybody wants this to happen. We should give this our blessing. It's exactly the sort of thing the GAA should be promoting."

Ó Sé criticised the GAA for allowing the issue to 'fester'.

"It's a no-brainer. The PR side of the GAA let themselves down. The normal people see concerts going into pitches, they see American Football games going in and a game that will have no impact on any GAA activity is stopped, it just comes across really, really bad," he said.

"I think the way the GAA just hold out and don't react for a few days doesn't help them at all. It's a no-brainer, 7,000 go into Turner's Cross, 45,000 go into Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"The GAA leaves stuff to fester and the anger towards them builds."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph